The Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF) is the national peak body representing the interests of Australian healthcare consumers. CHF works to achieve safe, quality, timely healthcare for all Australians, supported by accessible health information and systems.
CHF does this by:
- advocating for appropriate and equitable healthcare
- undertaking consumer-based research and developing a strong consumer knowledge base
- identifying key issues in safety and quality of health services for consumers
- raising the health literacy of consumers, health professionals and stakeholders
- providing a strong national voice for health consumers and supporting consumer participation in health policy and program decision making
- our members' knowledge, experience and involvement
- development of an integrated healthcare system that values the consumer experience
- early intervention, prevention and early diagnosis
- collaborative integrated healthcare
- working in partnership
CHF member organisations reach thousands of Australian health consumers across a wide range of health interests and health system experiences. CHF policy is developed through consultation with members, ensuring that CHF maintains a broad, representative, health consumer perspective.
CHF is committed to being an active advocate in the ongoing development of Australian health policy and practice.
CHF can trace its beginnings to 'A petition of reform addressed to the Minister', in May 1985, which called for a formal system of public participation to be built into the national health administration. A subsequent review of community participation undertaken by the Department of Health, recommended establishment of a Health Forum consisting of a coalition of community and consumer groups to provide a strong community voice on health issues. Government funds were provided to establish 'a health forum, made up of representatives of community groups to advise the government on health issues affecting Consumers in the 1986/87 Federal Budget'.
The health policy and health service delivery debate has shifted considerably since the Forums establishment. Consumer participation is well recognised by many politicians, policy makers and service planners. Although considerable gains have been made in many areas for the benefit of health consumers, the need for effective consumer participation is not universally accepted.
The challenge for CHF in the coming years is to maintain and enhance the recent gains made for consumers by articulating and contributing to effective consumer and community participation in health care policy and planning, service planning and delivery and research and evaluation.